Canadian Players Granted Exemptions For Federated Poker League


Federated Sports and Gaming announced yesterday their list of players granted exemptions for their first season of play that begins later this year. Among the 218 players who were granted exemptions for the still-unnamed poker league are many of the top players from the Canadian Poker community.

In addition to announcing their original list of exemptions, Federated Sports and Gaming released the criteria that was used to grant the two, three and five year “player cards” for the new professional poker league. Federated Sports and Gaming looked at player statistics since January 2008 in determining their criteria, the number of cashes a player has had in that time span, and the amount of money won by the player.

“We are committed to celebrating the world’s best live tournament players in an entirely new way,” said former World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, now the Chairman of Federated Sports and Gaming. “As we start to fulfill this mission, the first question we had to answer was who made the cut and why. For what could have been a very subjective discussion and debate, we elected to embrace objective data.”

There are two categories for the two-year exemption, Category A and Category B. The major difference between these two categories is that Category A players have at least $2 million in “adjusted lifetime earnings,” won a major title, and have at least six cashes since January 2008 and $300,000 won. Category B players have at least $1.25 million in adjusted earnings and nine cashes since 2008 totaling $500,000.

The criteria for players to earn a three-year card are a minimum of $2.5 million in adjusted earnings with a $1.5 million cap for the largest win. The player has to have won one major title in their career and earned nine cashes since 2008 for a total of at least $500,000. Criteria for the five-year card player exemption include at least $4 million in adjusted earnings with a $2 million largest win cap. The player has to have won at least three major titles and had nine cashes since 2008 for at least $600,000.

With the criteria laid out, the 218 players named as eligible players for the inaugural season of the Federated Sports and Gaming professional poker league named several top Canadian players to different levels of the card structure. Topping the list is arguably the “Godfather” of Canadian poker, Daniel Negreanu, who earned the full five-year exemption card. Of the 27 players granted the full five year exemption, Negreanu was the only Canadian to earn the highest achievement.

A host of top Canadian poker pros were among the 55 players given the three-year exemption. Leading the list of Canadians who will be eligible for the burgeoning poker league is World Series of Poker bracelet winner Gavin Smith, who has been one of the top Canadian players for some time. Joining Smith are compatriots Shawn Buchanan, Nenad Medic, Michael “SirWatts” Watson and Mike “Timex” McDonald.

Of the players granted the two year Category A player card, WSOP bracelet holder Erik Cajelais is the only Canadian to earn a Category A player card among the 36 players. Canadian pros Greg “FBT” Mueller, Peter Jetten and Scott Montgomery are among the players who earned the Category B player card and are eligible to play in the first season of the Federated Sports and Gaming league.

Several exceptions from the list are surprising. Most notable is the exclusion of the current World Champion, Jonathan Duhamel, because many of his cashes since 2008 have not met the criteria for consideration. Another player excluded is Brad “Yukon” Booth, who has had some success as a live tournament pro but whose cash game expertise is not considered in the Federated criteria. Others not included among the 218 players are former European Poker Tour Grand Final champion Glen Chorny, former PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion Steve Paul-Ambrose, Evelyn Ng, Isabelle Mercier and Kara Scott.

Federated Gaming and Sports also named a Canadian event as one of the “major” titles in their criteria for consideration. Alongside such tournaments as the WSOP, the WPT and the EPT, the British Columbia Poker Championship was named a major tournament.

As of now, only Mueller has firmly stated he will play in the Federated poker league. “Looking forward to the challenges of playing in the new Professional Poker league with the top 200 players in the world! No donks lol!” Mueller stated on his Twitter account.

The first event for the Federated Gaming and Sports poker league is set for action from August 9-12 at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the home casino for the league. Prior to the tournament, there will be a $1500 Pro-Am tournament from August 5-8, in which the final table earns an exemption into the Main Event.


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Earl Burton
Earl Burton is a veteran journalist in the poker industry, having covered the game since 2004. He has played the game much longer, however, starting out playing in family games at a very early age. He has covered tournaments across the United States, including the World Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker and various charitable events. Earl’s background includes writing for some of the top poker news sites in the industry as well as other poker media outlets that include Poker Player Newspaper and Canadian Poker Player Magazine. Earl keeps an unblinking eye on the poker world, offering coverage of news from the industry, tournament action, player interviews, strategy and his opinions on the game. Whenever possible, Earl will also step to the tables to demonstrate that there’s more than just writing talent behind his poker game!


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